Helpful ways to avoid becoming physically dependent on opioids
SALT LAKE CITY — Clinical studies have shown that a person taking opioids can become physically dependent on opioids in just seven days. Now more than ever we need to educate ourselves on the dangers of opioids. Furthermore, we need to look at alternative ways to approach pain management.
According to Dr. Jon Benfield, DO with Intermountain Healthcare, there are multiple ways to help avoid becoming physically dependent on opioids — beginning with breaking down how pain is affecting you.
“In a clinic, it’s really a one-on-one conversation to identify first. Where they’re having pain at, how long they’ve had the pain … and evaluating what’s causing the pain and what’s been done to treat it,” Dr. Benfield says.
While restrictions have increased on opioid prescriptions, Dr. Benfield was quick to point out that each patient is different and requires their own specific outcome.
“With any medication, opioids included, we should be direct with what we prescribe. We know what we’re prescribing it for. We know what our outcomes should be for that specific patient,” he added.
Understanding the risk to benefit ratio of taking prescribed medications
Dr. Benfield also says that the conversation surrounding opioids is so important because of the risk to benefit ratio that is involved with taking a prescribed medication.
“With opioids, other medications as well, it’s always a risk [to] benefit ratio. That’s balanced with what the patient is going through,” according to Dr. Benfield.
It’s also very important to understand that the same medications that work for one person, might not working someone else. This becomes even more true for patients who are already on a specific medication.
“One of the things that we look really closely at with patients who are on opioids is are they on other medications. [Specifically], benzodiazepines or other medications that may interact with the opioid that would increase the risk,” he says.
At the end of the day, if you have any questions regarding your prescription and potential side effects, Dr. Benfield recommends reaching out to your provider immediately.
“Take your prescription as prescribed and [if you] have any questions, have the confidence to reach out to your provider to have those questions answered,” he concluded.
To learn more ways to avoid becoming physically dependent on opioids listen to the Project Recovery podcast
For more information on ways to avoid becoming physically dependent on opioids, you can visit Project Recovery on Facebook, KSL TV, or Know Your Script. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.